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Tokamaks

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A nuclear fusion reactor in which a magnetic field keeps charged, hot plasma moving in a doughnut-shaped vacuum container.

No more zigzags: Scientists uncover mechanism that stabilizes fusion plasmas

Sawtooth swings — up-and-down ripples found in everything from stock prices on Wall Street to ocean waves — occur periodically in the temperature and density of the plasma that fuels fusion reactions in doughnut-shaped facilities called tokamaks. These swings can sometimes combine with other instabilities in the plasma to produce a perfect storm that halts the reactions. However, some plasmas are free of sawtooth gyrations thanks to a mechanism that has long puzzled physicists.

Advances in plasma and fusion science are described in Quest, PPPL’s research magazine

From analyzing solar flares to pursuing “a star in a jar” to produce virtually limitless electric power, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have developed insights and discoveries over the past year that advance understanding of the universe and the prospect for safe, clean, and abundant energy for all humankind.

Advances in plasma and fusion science are described in Quest, PPPL’s research magazine

From analyzing solar flares to pursuing “a star in a jar” to produce virtually limitless electric power, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have developed insights and discoveries over the past year that advance understanding of the universe and the prospect for safe, clean, and abundant energy for all humankind.

PPPL physicists aim to unlock mysteries of fusion with Early Career Research awards

Physicists Dr. Nate Ferraro and Dr. Sam Lazerson of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have each won 2018 Early Career Research Program awards sponsored by the DOE Office of Science. The two five-year awards will fund PPPL research that could lead to development of the best designs for doughnut-shaped tokamaks and twisty stellarators — the main magnetic-bottles employed worldwide in the effort to produce virtually inexhaustible fusion power on Earth using the reactions that drive the sun and stars.

New model sheds light on key physics of magnetic islands that halt fusion reactions

Magnetic islands, bubble-like structures that form in fusion plasmas, can grow and disrupt the plasmas and damage the doughnut-shaped tokamak facilities that house fusion reactions. Recent research at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has used large-scale computer simulations to produce a new model that could be key to understanding how the islands interact with the surrounding plasma as they grow and lead to disruptions.

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